French national network
of contemporary art centres

Contemporary art centres


Contemporary art centres are key institutions in the visual arts sector. Through their ambitious programming and structural uniqueness, they have become essential
mechanisms for the production and dissemination of contemporary art. For nearly 50 years, they have contributed to art history as well as making art accessible to as
many people as possible, as well as acting as spearheads of the cultural decentralisation policy. Most of them are subsidised by public funds and are associations, although some are directly managed (regional, departmental, or municipal). Their range of activities varies from one place to another, depending on their funding and their location, whether in the city centre, suburban or rural areas.


Contemporary art centres structure their activities around fundamental missions:

Organising exhibitions

The contemporary art centres design, produce, co-produce and present exhibitions of contemporary art each year.

Producing works

Each year, the contemporary art centres produce or co-produce new works, supporting the artists as much as possible throughout their projects. Many of these artworks are then included in significant national and international public and private collections.

Prospecting, researching, experimenting

Contemporary art centres are places dedicated to artistic research and exploration, allowing artists to develop and disseminate their projects. Many of their first exhibitions were supported by the contemporary art centres.

Experiencing art for all audiences

The contemporary art centres guide the broadest range of audiences in the discovery of today’s art. Aiming to facilitate a sensory experience and knowledge of the artworks, they design different types of initiatives and tools for their visitors each year. Working in close collaboration with the artists, they also develop projects with them involving an educational dimension.

Educating in the arts and culture

The contemporary art centres are key players in artistic and cultural education. They initiate specific activities for schoolchildren who visit them each year and, using specially designed teaching resources, enable them to experience contemporary art.

Territorial networking

The contemporary art centres play a role in the structuring and development of the territory in which they are located, often over a long period of time, by contributing to economic and social exchanges through partnerships with local businesses. Similarly, they are part of a multidisciplinary collaborative approach with all the cultural structures in their area to offer a wide range of services, in close proximity to the population.

International outreach

The contemporary art centres engage in international cooperation projects, particularly on a European level. This international dimension strengthens the visibility of their programming and reflects their ambition to explore diverse formats of artistic collaboration.